Basketball: No Curry, no worry as Warriors take 2-0 series lead against Rockets

Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball in the NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2016.
Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball in the NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (AFP) - The reigning champion Golden State Warriors shrugged off the injury absence of Stephen Curry to take a 2-0 lead in their play-off series with the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Curry was left a frustrated spectator at Oakland's Oracle Arena after failing a pre-game fitness test on a sore ankle shortly before tip-off.

However, the Warriors made light of their talisman's absence, romping to a 115-106 win that leaves Steve Kerr's record-breaking side firmly on course to advance.

The Rockets must now win one of their next two games at home, on Thursday and Sunday, to extend the series and avoid a first round sweep.

With Curry absent, it was left to Klay Thompson to do the damage, with the guard stepping up to weigh in with 34 points.

Thompson added five assists to go with his points haul while Andre Iguodala chipped in with 18 points. Draymond Green finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

James Harden was the main attacking conduit for Houston, finishing with 28 points and 11 assists to top the Rockets scoring.

Thompson later paid tribute to the Warriors' ability to minimise the impact of Curry's absence.

"We've got such great versatility, numbers 1 to 15. This slogan, strength in numbers is something we really do live by," Thompson said.

Curry's replacement, Shaun Livingston, played a key role in a fourth-quarter scoring burst, finishing with 16 points and six assists, earning high praise from Thompson.

"You can't ask for a better back-up point guard in this league," Thompson said.

Warriors coach Kerr said Curry had taken the decision not to play. His condition would be monitored ahead of game three, but Kerr stressed Golden State would not gamble on their star player's fitness.

"We never want to put winning ahead of a player's career and his health. We want to make sure Steph is right, and his foot is fine and healthy," Kerr said.

Elsewhere Monday, Raymond Felton scored 21 points as the Dallas Mavericks staged a late rally to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 85-84 on Monday to level their Western Conference play-off series.

The game finished dramatically, with the Thunder just missing by a split second what would have been a winning tip in from Steven Adams after Kevin Durant's missed layup.

Durant was left ruing a miserable shooting performance, which saw him go seven-of-33 for 21 points.

Durant's wayward shooting saw him equal the record - held by Michael Jordan - for most missed field-goal attempts in a single game.

"Just a bad shooting night for me. I'm going to have nights like that," Durant said.

"That's part of the game. I just have to keep staying confident. And my team-mates and my coaches stay confident in me. They told me to keep shooting tonight, so I did. I didn't make them, so that is a part of it. Get ready for Game 3," Durant added, referring to Thursday's third game in Dallas.